Louisiana Knife Bill Provides Clear Definition of Switchblades

Update (May 25, 2012) – Governor Jindal signed SB 78. The legislation making it very clear that a knife with a bias toward closure is NOT an illegal knife becomes effective in August.

Update (May 16, 2012) – SB 78 passed the Louisiana House today 89-0 and now heads to the Governor’s desk for signature. AKTI Thanks Sen. Dan Morrish for seeing the importance of protecting Louisiana residents and travelers into the state by clarifying what is NOT an illegal knife.

Update (April 24, 2012) – The House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee passed SB 78 to the House floor today without any objections.

Update (April 2, 2012) – The Louisiana Senate passed SB 78 today. It heads to the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee and then the House floor.

Update (March 27, 2012) – SB 78 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Attending the Committee hearing were both AKTI member David Clayton and Dan Lawson, AKTI Legal Contributing Counsel.

Baton Rouge, LA (March 21, 2012) – The American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) is working to add the geat state of Louisiana to the growing list of states that have changed statutes to more clearly define what is NOT an illegal knife and protect the rights of knife owners. Louisiana residents need to encourage their legislators to support SB 78 (text below).

At the suggestion of AKTI member David Clayton, the American Knife & Tool’s Legal Contributing Counsel Dan Lawson reached out last summer to Louisiana Senator Dan Morrish, District 25. Senator Morrish, who actually goes by Senator Dan “Blade” Morrish, quickly realized the problem with the statute related to “Illegal carrying of weapons” and the confusion over what is and is not a switchblade. Mr. Lawson worked with Senator Morrish’s office to draft wording for SB 78 which the Senator introduced March 12.

Senator Morrish summarized the resulting bill very well. “SB 78 will provide the citizens of Louisiana the ability to legally purchase, carry and use knives that have been classified by current law as illegal and associated with the ‘switchblade’. SB 78 clearly separates utility, work and hunting knives manufactured with new techniques and technology from the ‘switchblade’ classification. SB 78 attempts to align Louisiana law with federal law and to give citizens and law enforcement a clear definition of legal and illegal knives.” (Senator Dan “Blade” Morrish, District 25 of the Louisiana Senate)

SB 78 will be heard at the Senate Judiciary C Committee meeting Tuesday morning, March 27, 2012 and AKTI will provide expert support to encourage the Committee to pass the bill on to the Senate.

“Sportsmen, knife enthusiasts, and working men and women will appreciate this conscientious clarification of the Louisiana knife law. Certainly, the efforts of Sen. Dan Morrish (R-Jennings) and the American Knife & Tool Institute, especially Dan Lawson, AKTI Legal Contributing Counsel, are really appreciated. It is now in the hands of the State Legislature to follow through. Our Louisiana Legislators need to know how we feel about this bill,” emphasized AKTI Member David Clayton.

Under Louisiana law a uniform standard applies, so this legislative change will be a win for all Louisiana residents. If passed the law will be effective August 1, 2012.

We’ll keep you posted and you can follow the bill’s progress on the Louisiana State Legislature’s website.

SB 78

Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana:
Section 1. R.S. 14:95 (A)(4) is hereby amended and reenacted to read as follows:
Section 95. Illegal carrying of weapons
A. Illegal carrying of weapons is:
(4) (a) The manufacture, ownership, possession, custody or use of any switchblade knife, spring knife or other knife or similar instrument having a blade which may be automatically unfolded or extended from a handle by the manipulation of a button, switch, latch or similar contrivance located on the handle.
(b) The provisions of this Paragraph shall not apply to the following:
(i) Any knife that may be opened with one hand by manual pressure applied to the blade or any projection of the blade.
(ii) Any knife that may be opened by means of inertia produced by the hand, wrist, or other movement, provided the knife has either a detent or other structure that provides resistance that shall be overcome in opening or initiating the opening movement of the blade or a bias or spring load toward the closed position.

More… Understanding Bias Toward Closure